Two community projects in Central Huron received provincial recognition recently.
Every year, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario gives out Awards of Excellence. These prestigious awards recognize projects and initiatives that set innovative examples for other communities. In 2022, communities across Ontario submitted over 100 project applications, which were judged by a panel of experts.
In February, the winners in each award category were announced at the 66th Annual EDCO Conference in Toronto. This year, Central Huron received awards for two recent projects: The Shoppability Project and Clinton’s Downtown Historic Walking Tour.
The Shoppability Project received the Inclusive Community Based Initiative Award for a rural community with a population under 100,000. The Shoppability Project is an ongoing, multi-phase effort to make businesses in Clinton more accessible. Each phase has been met with positive feedback from residents, visitors, and the community as a whole.
The first project phase began in 2020 with the installation of automatic door openers at 12 downtown businesses. In 2021, a new phase provided businesses with blade signs to assist with navigation. The third phase in 2022 involved installing wheelchair-level doorbells, painting steps with contrast paint, and providing chairs to each downtown business.
Sponsors throughout the project’s phases have included Huron County’s Supporting Local Economic Development (SLED) program, Community Futures Huron, the Municipality of Central Huron, Corrie’s Foodland, and Regional Tourism Organization 4 (RTO4), who distributed funding from FedDev Ontario.
The latest round of improvements included automatic door openers for three additional downtown businesses: Bartliffs, Charlie’s Variety, and Clinton Cannabis.
Community Improvement Coordinator Angela Smith continues to seek more funding opportunities for future project phases to make our area more accessible to all.
The second EDCO award that Central Huron took home was for Clinton’s historic walking tour. The project received second place in the Rural Excellence category, which recognizes projects in communities with populations under 10,000. The tour was researched and created by Community Improvement Assistant, Izzy Siebert.
Launched in August, the walking tour consists of 15 stops and includes many photos and stories, allowing residents and visitors to easily access local history. The tour also stimulates economic development by drawing people to Clinton. The 15 points of interest are scattered throughout downtown, so people must walk by nearly every business to complete the tour.
The tour does not require much distance walking, however, so people of all ages and mobility levels can explore Clinton’s past. People can even access the tour completely online if they aren’t able to walk the streets or if they lived here in the past and have since moved away.
The walking tour will be relaunched this spring with an abridged print booklet available for those who are unable to access the tour digitally. The full tour can be viewed online by visiting tinyurl.com/clintontour.
The Municipality of Central Huron is proud to be home to award-winning projects and we look forward to what 2023 will bring for the community!